A thought on Impostor Syndrome (and why I’d rather be with it than without it).
On Friday, as you might have seen from Saturday’s video, my partner thought a bunch of people at the professional writers’ meet-up he came with me to for the first time weren’t actually writers.
Because that’s what they said about themselves.
This afternoon, I joined two of my colleagues and two of our MA students to be filmed discussing our courses. I caught myself thinking whether I shouldn’t mention the exercises we’re using that were based on my own book.
Nobody censored me, other than me.
Here is what I want to do about it. Feel free to join me if it resonates with you too:
I will value, discuss and celebrate my work of itself.
I will enjoy when people are surprised I have a PhD, an ISBN number, or anything else. Because I’m changing what those things look like to those people. It’s not about me. It’s about them.
I will notice (not judge, but notice) when I think “but so and so wrote that which is much more established/impressive/famous etc” and acknowledge how irrelevant comparison is. No one else in time and space can write what I can. Letting comparison and self-consciousness have the final word means everybody loses.
I will name the “who does she think she is” voices in my head. I know who they are. They’re just an echo, of something that didn’t matter in the first place.
I will remember everything I write is imperfect and everything you write is imperfect and everything everyone has ever written is imperfect — but real, in the world. Because it got better with every draft so the message made its way into the world. I will remember perfectionism never gets around to connecting with anyone — but authentic does.
Here are three books I love and am proud I wrote. Here’s to the ones that will follow.